I walked into Quitman Elementary last week wide-eyed and ready to teach, as well as ready to learn. When I stepped into the classroom for the first time I was struck by the unfamiliar feeling of being tall. All the miniature chairs, low sinks, and small tables sent a strange sense of reality through my body. I am a teacher. I am in charge of teaching these little kids about respect, life, and how to master objective after objective so they can pass the state assessments.
I have now seen seven days in front of the classroom and each day seems to present it’s own challenges. Classroom management has proven to be one of my biggest struggles. Even the simple task of taking the kids to the bathroom can turn into mass chaos if the paper towels run out. I can see that I have a long ways to go before I can confidently call myself a teacher.
For the first part of last week my students called me Ms. Fox. I was fairly impressed that they made some sort of unspoken connection between a wolf and a fox but couldn’t allow them to call me by the wrong name. Each day I had to reinforce that I was in fact Ms. Wolff, their teacher and they needed to call me Ms. Wolff. It wasn’t until one of the boys piped up and said, “Oh, I get it. Your name’s Ms. Wolff ‘cause you got them fangs.”
I have learned a lot this past week that I really do not know how to love people unconditionally. Teaching and managing a classroom with two other rookie teachers tests your patience and communication skills. We spend so much time together it is so easy to get on each other’s nerves, and I have found that I have a shorter fuse than I once thought. There have been a several apologizes and moments of humility for me. God has been showing me that it is in the hard times that I must take joy, for the testing of my faith produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope, and hope does not disappoint us!
It has also been hard for me to love all of my students. Oh, how hard it is to love the students that consistently disrupt class! But I pray that I may have patience and love overflowing for these kids.
:::What A Weekend:::
After my first week I felt like I was drowning in TFA world. On Friday I went out for pizza with some friends and ended up falling asleep on a friends couch while watching an episode of Myth Busters (it was the one where they try to confirm/bust all the conspiracy theories about the USA landing on the moon).
Saturday I woke up early and went with a friend to the local farmers market. You know you are in a small town when the only directions you can find say, “The market is located on the grassy lawn behind the post office”. That would help if I first knew where the post office was! Once we found the market, we browsed through the five-stand selection. I left with a bag of plum tomatoes for a dollar and a bag of corn on the cob for four. Not a bad morning.
We stopped at a local donut shop on the way back and got some chocolate milk and donut holes. I did some laundry, mopped the bathroom floor, and cleaned my room. Then my friend made me some French Pressed coffee, we got some lunch to-go and headed on our way to a local park about thirty minutes away. This park had a lookout tower over the Mississippi River and was the perfect getaway. We played guitar, read, napped, and breathed for two hours. Before Saturday it had been a long time since I had actually breathed. Like noticed my own breathing and enjoyed doing it. It is a precious thing.
We came back to campus and I met up with some people to lesson plan. Then we jetted to Sonic for some ice cream and cheese sticks. Went shopping at the local Wal-Mart and then the Dollar Tree and then called it a night. It was a very relaxing yet enjoyable Saturday.
Sunday started off with a 20 minute run and then church. It was a mellow work day in which I tried to be productive, and was to some extent, but really ended up just getting done what I needed to get done, went on another run with a friend, and then hit the sack.
The past two weeks I have been reading a lot from the ministry Tiny Hands International. This ministry is based out of Lincoln, Nebraska but does a lot of work over in Nepal to help house orphans as well as fight the sex-trafficking industry. http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/
This ministry continues to bring healthy doses of perspective into my life. The past few weeks has been a time of overwhelming emotions at times.I thought I was lonely and unsure, uncomfortable and stressed - but reading about the 10,000 girls in Nepal who get sold into sex-trafficking each year and all of the sudden my struggles seem so insignificant. Now I can't say that I shouldn't feel anything bad or that it isn't okay for me to feel alone sometimes or sad or stressed... I am not saying that. But in all reality I have been so blessed and I have the love of my Heavenly Father and Creator, a supportive family and friends, a stable place to sleep at night and so much more. I have been given True Life. Is there anything more?
I just received an email a few hours ago with a spreadsheet with all of the TENTATIVE placements that have been made in the Delta so far for this coming school year. There are 275 corps members in the Delta and only a little over half have been placed. But, guess what! My name was on there. Now, nothing is for sure and nothing is set but here is what it said in the spreadsheet.
Coahoma Co: Not Sure Where : )
I am not sure what that means, because everyone else has a “School Name & Grade Level” where mine says “Not Sure Where”. All I have is a county! But, hey that is a start! All I can do is pray that it would get finalized as soon as possible and I would end up where the Lord would desire me to be. Thank you for everyone who has been praying!
This weekend BB King is going to be in town and we have Monday off from school. That means if anyone wants to come visit this weekend would be the time! Did I mention I have Monday off?
I would like to end this blog by pasting in something I wrote earlier in the week in an email.
I don't know how to give everything to the Lord. But I do know that it is better when I am humbled and am relying totally on His strength and the direction of the Spirit. It is so tempting for me to try to take control of my class and do it my way... but I pray the Lord will open up my eyes to Him and how He wants me to be used in this place. May He grant me with eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to love, feet to serve, and a quiet tongue.